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Micah

Heartache on a railroad

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Song is a piano ballad with orchestral sounds/elements. Even though I labeled BRIDGE and CHORUS, the structure is not traditional and, to be honest, Each section could be considered a chorus. Instrumentally, I have one more section to add in which will need more lyrics. I have the melodies in my head, but I am unsure about the lyrics for this section. 

The current lyrics are written from my emotions. As far as I know, they provide a narrative of my deep inner feelings towards a certain individual in my life, a person who I can't stop thinking about no matter how hard I try, A person whom I shared an enormous amount of chemistry with. I realize that many of the lyrics are ambiguous, but in my own odd way, they make perfect sense when they are delivered from my soul. I appreciate any feedback and hope that the meanings get across to some of you! Thanks in advance! (I'll be recording demo really soon)

 

 

There is a fire
and there is a man in the doorway
The doorway is gone

Tell me your liar
And I'll be the one you remember
Wherever you go

There is a fire
and there is a man in the doorway
He won't let me go

Tell me your liar
and I'll be the one in your shadow
Wherever you go


BRIDGE/KEY CHANGE**

Why does it seem
We know who we are when we dream
and what does it take
to be there~
Who do you blame
when half of the mirrors are sane
and how does it feel
to be real
to be real~


*Chorus

Where do you go?
you tell me your heartache's on a railroad
and now I know you run
Yes you better go now
they'll put your heartache on the railroad
and now they know you'll run

 

 

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Hi Micah, this could work, but musically, you would do best by thinking in a more 'traditional' manner as to song structure, for example AAAB.

 

I don't think "Tell me your liar" is what you mean - because it's not proper language, I don't understand what it is supposed to be.

 

"heartache on the railroad" is also confusing - what do you mean by that?

 

You may think that this bares your soul and you understand all the inferences and subtleties, but if you want your song to touch others' feelings, then you have to consider how they will interpret (or fail to) your words.

 

 

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Hi Micah

What is good is I have not a clue whats going on until I get to the bridge and there is an aha moment there I see it's a dream.

Then the man in the doorway the fire and the sudden disappearance of the doorway make sense. 

 

The fact that the verse structure is very unstable suites the dream sequence. That feels just right to me.

 

The section you have marked as a bridge is not actually a bridge it's a B section. Although it is performing one of the functions of a bridge that is to reveal what's going on.

In this B section I feel the front half is good but the back half feels forced. 

 

Why does it seem
We know who we are when we dream
and what does it take to be there~
Who do you blame
when half of the mirrors are sane
and how does it feel
to be real
to be real~

 

That is because you have tried to force some rhymes and it's not necessary.

The half mirrors line doesn't make a lot of sense and that adds to the forced rhyme feeling.

This section should contrast completely with the verse sections so that means it should probably be on the stable side. So you have contrast between the parts to the maximum effect.

You have a patterning thing going on in there which is the right thing. Because that is stability plus. It's like in your verses they feel uneasy and I don't quite know what your on about.

In this section you are explaining what it's about so you have tension and release the verse creating the tension and this section creating the release. 

 

Example:

Why does it seem
We know who we are when we dream
and what does it take to be there~

What does it take

To bend in the wind and not break

and what does it mean to be here

 

I've just quickly fiddled with that turning lines around etc. to get more connectivity as an example of what I'm pointing out.

Like absolute opposite to what the verses do. 

 

If I look at your last section the one you have labeled chorus 

You say "You tell me your heartache is on a railroad."

I have no clue what this means but it is a super cool thing to say.

 

So for me to make this section work it has to mean something and you don't have to spell it out for everyone but I think you need to indicate what it means, steer 

me in a direction so I can at least find the solution.

 

Having said that This section doesn't seem to fit with the other parts of the song. And your talking about them in the other sections it's about us.

So I think this is really not belonging here but is a good idea for another song.

 

If I say "You tell me your heartaches on a railroad" Then it can be an old guy in a freight train telling his miserable life story or something.

So I would build up an idea around that.

 

I would normally say that your form is unconventional and you should go verse chorus bridge chorus etc. But in this case I think there is a good reason not too.

That is to delay revealing what it's about.

 

I think you should go

four verses, then the B section perhaps a musical solo the finish by doing a breakdown and repeating verse 1 with the mysteriously disappearing door.

 

Finally you can be as ambiguous as you want, but we have to be able to put our own meaning on it, and have it make sense to us. Or the song fails because we don't care about you, we care about us. So even if you are the character it has to be about me. That is what the dream thing does. Oh yea I've had weird dreams where I'm riding a bicycle and suddenly it's a horse etc. So I relate and it works.

 

Cheers

 

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Snabbu,


Thank you very much for the insight and well thought out comments. I appreciate you trying to interpret and analyze my lyrics. I understand everything you are saying, and I will def. take it all into consideration (especially  the contrast between the verse and chorus  /ambiguous and then more straightforward ideas. Before we decide to go this direction, let me just explain what the lyrics mean to me. Perhaps its too far fetched, but out of curiosity….Also, keep in mind that I am male and I believe the song is about a girl I once knew.


There is a fire
and there is a man in the doorway
The doorway is gone

**
There was someone here to save you, but you waited too long to take the leap forward with him.

Tell me your liar
And I'll be the one you remember
Wherever you g
o
Why do we both continue to turn ourselves the other direction, even though we feel so right together. 
There is a fire
and there is a man in the doorway
He won't let me go

The man is the memories I have of myself during that time. No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop thinking of that period of my life.
Tell me your liar
and I'll be the one in your shadow
Wherever you go

**I changed this up for some reason, I think what I may be getting at is that I respect this person, and I only want to do what is right, regardless of whether or not we must keep our distance

BRIDGE/KEY CHANGE**


Why does it seem
We know who we are when we dream
and what does it take
to be there~

Referencing a dream, and whether or not it can come true
Who do you blame
when half of the mirrors are sane
and how does it feel
to be real
to be real~

Half of the mirrors are sane. Therefore, half of the mirrors are insane.
Sometimes we think we are crazy for what we think say and do, but other times, our emotions feel just and right.


*Chorus

Where do you go?
you tell me your heartache's on a railroad
and now I know you run

Yes you better go now
they'll put your heartache on the railroad
and now they know you'll run


 

I believe what I am getting at here is an idea of what this may be like from her point of view. She knows we can’t be together, so its gonna hurt eventually. We burn the bridge, and turn an run back to our lives, knowing the heartache will take its toll and hurt. the second half refers to the peers involved in a current relationship (family friends, etc.) and how devastating it would be to burn so many bridges.


I know these meanings are deep and rather vague, but I truly strive to write lyrics that are multi-layered and ambiguous to the point of meaning different things to different folks, as long as there is a consistent connection between those meanings.
 

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Hi

The issue is that we can not know that stuff. We can only know our own stuff.

I can write something that means one thing and too others it means something totally different and that's ok. It is a benefit of being non specific.

Also if I am allowed to put my own spin on your lyric I take ownership of them so you have succeeded in communicating something to me even if it's not what you intended to say.

We also don't care about you we care about us so the lyric needs to be able to be about us. 

Lyrics need to be focussed. If you exclude the last section all the verses support the B section idea because they are describing stuff that happens in a dream and it is only when you mention dreams in the bridge that that impression comes to me. If that had not been there the verse sections would have been meaningless to me.

 

If it were me and it isn't I would stick to the dream theme in the bridge. Because it works. 

I would not be putting any unstable ideas in the bridge they belong in the verse like the insane inanimate objects.

Actually this dream is probably a nightmare and that's probably the second half of your B section.

 

Lets say Mr smith had a great 2017 but this year has turned to shit, so many bad things had happened. To him this song could be about that and how did he get to this nightmare and too the point how is he going to get out of it.

 

I think you have sent me a rough of the melodic idea which I have not listened to it yet so I can tell you what I expect to feel.

That is nervous tense and bewildered durning the verses and relaxed and no longer confused at the end of the bridge.

 

It is quite alright to write stream of consciousness things because it I think, gives you better images. But having done that you need to decide what it might mean, and make it mean that.

You can be taught a lot of songwriting techniques what you can not be taught is the imagination to create images, that's a thing you have or you don't have. 

 

In a one hour lecture it is not possible for the general population to absorb more than four ideas. That's a fact and good communicators stick to the same four maximum ideas but keep coming at them from a different angle.

In a four minute song it is obvious that you are restricted to one idea. 

 

Cheers

 

Gary

 

 

 

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I understand totally. Makes alot sense and I've never thought of things this way when writing. After the bridge, I intend to let the next section explode instrumentally and vocally. Therefore, your logic would suggest those lines to be clear and concise rather ambiguous as the verse. The thing is, it will be returning to the same key as the verse, so it may need to mirror those lines a bit in order to create an element of transitioning between the two characters. However, I do not think I will go that route. Now that I sit and soak it all in, I will need to rework this after I've expanded on the overall sound and rhythm of the music itself, while sticking to a more singular theme. 

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Ok Micah

I listened.

Now the discord in the arpeggio is the right feel.

BUT: it can not go on forever all tension and no release, you need to go in out in out unresolved resolved. That arpeggio could have been used at Quantanamo bay along with water boarding.

 

Lets talk about for examples sake the key of F.

 

A plan for the dream part could be to use a chord not of the key of F to create tension but you must immediately resolve back to a chord that is. If you don't people are going to want to kill you.

 

So your arpeggio could be based around these chords

F              C

There is a fire

G7                                        C
and there is a man in the doorway

C                      F
The doorway is gone

 

You begin on the I chord to say hey listener this is in F because your going to mess with their ears, and they won't get it if they don't know what the key is.

Next you set the poor listener up by going to the V chord The C this is a perfectly normal change. Everyone is happy and relaxed.

Then all of a sudden you go to the ii chord, except it's not minor as it should be it's a major 7th. The listener is surprised, and unsettled, and very quickly before they switch you off you resolve back to the V, C chord. They breath a sigh of relief, then when you do a rock solid V to I cadence at the end they will forgive you for stretching their brains.

 

And you keep doing that up down, up down, messing with their head until you get to your B section and just do everything straight like a good normal person expects.

The unexpected followed by the expected makes the unexpected easier to take and the expected more fresh.

And both parts bigger than they actually are. 

 

Cheers

 

Gary

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Snabbu said:

The unexpected followed by the expected makes the unexpected easier to take and the expected more fresh.

And both parts bigger than they actually are

Now this is why I'm here! 

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Micah,

 

Gary is giving you really good advice, and it sounds like you're taking it all in. That is a great thing to watch.  

 

Your line: 

Tell me your liar

doesn't make sense to me. It leaves me wondering whether you mean

Tell me you're a liar

or 

Tell me your lies

or

Tell me you're lying

or

something else. So I'm distracted while I should be following your story.

 

And if you mean: Tell me you're a liar, you need the "a" in there, as well.

 

Right now, "Heartache on a railroad," isn't coming through to me. A railroad, as opposed to a road, is two parallel tracks going straight...somewhere with a distinct and scheduled destination.  This lyric feels meandering, so the railroad image doesn't fit with that. Maybe with some revisions it will become clearer?

 

Patty

 

 

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Hi M

 

  I'll agree with what the other suggested. And the story telling or plot needs to be defined in order to make the railroad image work. Again, I dont mind abstract, but as you said, you're trying to display an inner emotion, but it has to be attached to something to make the story line work.

 

just my two cents worth

R-N-R Jim

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3 hours ago, Peko said:

Micah,

 

Gary is giving you really good advice, and it sounds like you're taking it all in. That is a great thing to watch.  

 

Your line: 

Tell me your liar

doesn't make sense to me. It leaves me wondering whether you mean

Tell me you're a liar

or 

Tell me your lies

or

Tell me you're lying

or

something else. So I'm distracted while I should be following your story.

 

And if you mean: Tell me you're a liar, you need the "a" in there, as well.

 

Right now, "Heartache on a railroad," isn't coming through to me. A railroad, as opposed to a road, is two parallel tracks going straight...somewhere with a distinct and scheduled destination.  This lyric feels meandering, so the railroad image doesn't fit with that. Maybe with some revisions it will become clearer?

 

Patty

 

 

"Tell me your liar"

First and foremost, I chose this line because of the way it sounds. I then justified that it could mean: "Who or What part of you continues you to convince you that what you feel isn't real"


"Heartache on a railroad"

Again, I liked the way it sounded, especially the way it is sung. I justified it with the notion that leaving something on a railroad will eventually be crashed into. She's turning and walking away from what we had, but then she runs in anticipation of the pain that will be felt



I know that my ambiguous nature in writing is confusing and borderline impossible to understand fully, and I am considering everything mentioned here. This is by no means the final version, and I def. appreciate the feedback from all. 

One thing that really doesn't sit well with me is when lyrics aren't vague enough. I cringe sometimes when I hear pop songs that are so straightforward with meanings. Artists I enjoy and are inspired by are ones who produce songs that may take a couple of listens to "get". Finding a balance between those two realms is the difficult part, along with the diction/ flow of consonants and sounds.

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3 hours ago, Micah said:

 

One thing that really doesn't sit well with me is when lyrics aren't vague enough. I cringe sometimes when I hear pop songs that are so straightforward with meanings. I agree with this statement as well...but when you write vague or abstract, you have to give some catchy lines for anyone to even tune in remotely. 

 

Artists I enjoy and are inspired by are ones who produce songs that may take a couple of listens to "get". True, I find Mitch Easter and the band the Posies in that realm. Could even go Elliot Smith too. But the common denominator among them is that they sung lines that were interesting, had feel and could be taken in different ways. But the key is, they had to sound fresh and interesting. And you see, that's the fine line between being artistic or pretentious. Finding a balance between those two realms is the difficult part, along with the diction/ flow of consonants and sounds.

Hi M

 

   Hopefully the music will give this lyric some feel. Like you, I listen and the enjoy the music first. I can only hope the lyrics are interesting or dont take anything away from the melody.

 

just my two cents worth

R-N-R Jim

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23 hours ago, Micah said:

First and foremost, I chose this line because of the way it sounds. I then justified that it could mean: "Who or What part of you continues you to convince you that what you feel isn't real"

Yeah! Sound comes first.

 

If you had wanted to write an essay, you would have written an essay.

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